Help! Someone Stole My Article Content!
Dear Hubbers, Bloggers and Writers,
At last! Google has finally given us the weapon we need to attack the scrapers and stop them outranking us in search engine results. I don't know about you, but I'm getting pretty cheesed off with the number of my articles which are starting to show up all jumbled up and in Google's index. I think this worst part about it for me is that because my name is featured in the web address of all my Hubpages articles, they're also including my name in the articles as part of the alphabeti-spaghetti.
So a few days ago Matt Cutts, who is head of Google's Webspam team, announced on Twitter that "If you see a scraper URL outranking the original source of content in Google, please let us know about it"
I can't say that it's a completely selfless act by Google to offer this service - they are after all getting a free database of scrapers in the deal, however if your complaint is about scraping, rather than blatant copying, then this is the place to do it: Google's Scraping Report Form
This is great news because filing a DMCA is a pain in the backside, slow and often results in disappointment - in the meantime, Mr Scraper is sat there enjoying your visitor traffic whilst you work tirelessly to usurp him. This scraping report form will be a quicker version to identify scrapers.
So when do you use this form and when is it better to file a DMCA Report?
Use the Google Scraping Report for content that satisfies one or more of the following criteria:
- Resembles your article in form, structure and words but is not exactly the same
- Contains your name as part of the scraping
- Contains other stolen material such as photos
- Contains several articles mixed together
- Is your material, but spun so badly that it's almost gibberish
Use the DMCA reporting form for:
- Almost or Exact copies of your work
Please note that you should only make a DMCA report if you can prove you own the copyright. There are some pretty stiff legal penalties if you can't.
Does the content have to be outranking me?
Well, that is what they said, but I for one will be reporting spun copies of my articles just to make myself a nuisance to those who see my works as something they can just take without permission.
How do I Find Scraped Content?
It's every writer's responsibility to safeguard their digital assets, so regularly checking that "what's mine is mine" is all part of the job.
Hubpages have useful tool which highlights the possibility that your content might be appearing elsewhere on the web. If this appears anywhere on your dashboard then you should investigate further: © = Possibly Copied by Someone Else. I will say that it's very good for content which has been cut and pasted into someone else's site, but doesn't' always work when something has been stolen and spun. (jumbled up to disguise the copy)
Go to google and search for the keywords in your title, partial paragraphs at the beginning of your articles and most importantly, your name. You'd be amazed what you'll find.
There are also websites which can help you safeguard your content, especially if you rely on it for a loving. Copyscape is a typical example, where you can enter the web address of the page you want to check and it will search the web for similar pages. There's a free and paid service.
Another great way to monitor scraping of your content is to set up google alerts. Just save a series of queries, and google will let you know if anything pops up in their index. My experience of Google Alerts is that you'll probably need to refine your queries a few times before you get it right, but once you've done that, you can play whack-a-mole with the scrapers like a professional.
If you'd like to write for an article website which alerts you to scraped content and pays adwords royalties for your work, then sign up for Hubpages today.